49ers Opponents Draft Recap: AFC West
Another week has gone, and it’s time again to examine and recap what the 49ers opponents have done in the draft. There is still plenty of offseason to pour over tape of McGlinchey or Moore and how they will be used and schemed to success, but for now let’s take a look at the AFC West and see how their drafts stack up against the 49ers and what to expect.
The Denver Broncos had one of the most intriguing and potentially one of the most impactful drafts of any team this year. With some of the unexpected moves of the Cleveland Browns and other teams ahead of them, GM John Elway and the Broncos were able to let the board fall to them and drafted one of the top prospects in the draft and the best EDGE rusher in this class in Bradley Chubb.
Being able to play Chubb on the same line as perennial NFL sack leader Von Miller is a notion that just doesn’t seem fair, and instantly has the potential of catapulting the Broncos into one of the top defenses in the league.
Prior to the Draft, the Broncos made what can only be described as a splash during Free Agency by signing Quarterback Case Keenum, who had previously played with the Minnesota Vikings. While Elway had said, “We’ve got our guy”, the team didn’t have much in regards to weapons for him. The skill positions consisted of players either entering the twilight of their career or were unproven. They seemed to have remedied that by drafting wide receiver Courtland Sutton, a consensus top WR prospect in the draft. Both Chubb and Sutton should be able to come in and contribute right away.
The Broncos also helped bolster depth at positions of need, drafting running backs Royce Freeman and David Williams, linebackers Josey Jewell and Keishawn Bierria, and WR Daeshean Hamilton.
Kansas City Chiefs
As a fan of the 49ers and as someone who writes about the team, Sseing what first-time GM Brett Veach did compared to what GM John Lynch did in his first draft are such a stark contrast between proper scouting before the draft and being savvy in maneuvering along the board.
The Kansas City Chiefs had one of the more puzzling drafts of any team this year. They took two linebackers in Breeland Speaks and Dorian O’Daniel, two defensive backs in Armani Watts and Tremon Smith, a defensive tackle in Derrick Nnadi, and an offensive lineman in Kahlil McKenzie.
Of the players drafted, Watts and Nnadi have the biggest chance of having an impact in the upcoming season. Watts has great instincts and Nnadi is a great run stopper, but only time will tell how much of an impact they and the rest of the Chiefs draft class will do.
As baffling as the Chiefs draft seemed to be, the consensus seems to be that there is no question that the Oakland Raiders draft was really that bad.
New/Old Head Coach Jon Gruden had already made his presence and favorability with the team ownership known by releasing All-Pro Punter Marquette King in part because of his attitude issues, but when word started to come out that he and GM Reggie McKenzie had separate big boards that they were drafting from, it became clear there were going to be issues.
Not all of the Raiders draft picks were bad. Being able to land DT Maurice Hurst in the fifth round is a downright steal, if his heart condition doesn’t impede his performance. Even EDGE rusher Arden Key in the third is great value, if his off field issues and performance issues can be contained.
Ultimately, that is the key word of the Raiders’ draft: “If”. There isn’t one pick that seems like they will be an instant contributor to the team. When you previously had hopes of playoff contention and are in the middle of a roster and coaching staff shuffle, that’s not good.
San Diego Chargers
Thankfully, we can end our look on a good note.
The San Diego Chargers had one of the best drafts of any team, in no short part due to the mass of Quarterbacks and baffling picks leading up to their first pick in the opening round allowing Safety Derwin James to fall to them. James was viewed as a top-10 player, and by all accounts that is the level of talent they got at pick 17.
The Chargers also picked up EDGE rusher Uchenne Nwosu, an intriguing player from USC. SD has one of the best pass rushers in Joey Bosa, and bringing in Nwosu gives SD the potential for one of the scariest pass rushes in the league.
What did you think of the drafts for these teams? How do you think they compare to what the 49ers did? Let us know!
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